Chyna Cho. Photo from KnoxxFit
Almost all of the Pentagon’s 600,000 smartphone users currently tote BlackBerry devices in their holsters, but that’s about to change.
The Pentagon has given the green light to both Apple and Samsung to bid for the smartphone and tablet business contracts for its defense staff.
6 Ways To Be A More Courageous Leader
Leadership expert Brad Lomenick offers some simple tips that will help you make tough decisions with confidence.
I have great respect for professional baseball players; they are anything but wimpy. To stand in front of home plate with a ball heading toward your head at 95 miles per hour with nothing but a piece of wood to bat it away takes guts.
Life and leadership are a lot like baseball. Even the best batters strike out sometimes. But a true athlete, and courageous leaders, can never run away from the pitch.
As a leader, you sit atop the mountain. You have no choice but to face the slopes. You can lean back, coast, and play it safe, snowplowing your way painfully back and forth across the mountain, or you can point your skis down the hill, nose over the tips, and dominate the run. Being a courageous leader requires you to push beyond the norm, be willing to take risks and quit being a wimp.
Courage is not waiting for your fear to go away; it is confronting your fear head-on.
Through working with young leaders around the nation, I have found six essentials that can help build a culture of courage in an organization:
1. Set scary standards.
Give your people a goal that scares them, and you’ll produce leaders who know what it means to overcome fear.
2. Allow for failure.
The road to success is many times paved through multiple failures. Allow for and even encourage your team to fail as they attempt to succeed.
3. Make decisions.
Don’t let ideas, strategy, communication, and important organizational markers sit idly by on the side without saying yes or no. Leaders are decision makers, and must do it constantly.
4. Reward innovation.
Rewarding innovation will challenge your team to grow in their roles.
5. Pursue the right opportunities.
Aggressively pursue a few things that make sense. Say no to things that don’t—even if it means saying no more often than you’re comfortable.
6. Learn to delegate.
This is one of the most courageous things a leader can do. Entrusting others with important tasks requires letting go and relinquishing control.
If you want your team to be courageous, give them the chance to lead. Early and often.
The good news is that unlike some leadership traits, courage is not inborn; it’s learned. The natural response is to run from what frightens us, but life’s greatest leaps occur when we resist this impulse.
What is one way that you can be more courageous today?
Why The Happiest People Have The Hardest Jobs
“The happiest people I know are dedicated to dealing with the most difficult problems,” Rosabeth Moss Kanter writes for HBR. Whether reversing schools’ struggles, making unsafe water potable, or helping the terminally ill, “they face the seemingly worst of the world with a conviction that they can do something about it and serve others.”
Kanter pulls in a number of anecdotes, including that of her friend, the Pulitzer Prize-winner Ellen Goodman. Upset by the care her dying mother received, Goodman left her syndicated columnist gig to start The Conversation Project, which aims to get every family to talk about death and end-of-life care. While Kanter doesn’t quote Goodman in the piece, we can infer that Goodman is doing emotionally fulfilling work—which, as positive psychology tells us, is a key to enduring happiness, as opposed to the fleeting nature of pleasure.
A meaningful, happiness-generating career, then, will include a sense of engagement—or even devotion—to the work one does. And while engagement is a predictor of success on a global level, less than half of American workers have it.
Money isn’t what motivates these high achievers, Kanter writes; instead, engaged people pursue mastery, membership, and meaning. Money was a distant fourth.
Let’s be clear: money matters plenty—if you don’t have enough to feel secure, you’llact like an alligator. But as research suggests, once you clear the income thresholds of $50,000 to $70,000 a year, the cash-to-happiness correlation levels off).
“Money acted as a scorecard, but it did not get people up-and-at ‘em for the daily work,” Kanter observes, “nor did it help people go home every day with a feeling of fulfillment.”
But fulfillment doesn’t have hockey-stick growth. Kanter talks about the corps members of City Year who are working with at-risk students and seeing improvements and problems come in waves. But progress “isn’t linear,” she says—it may only be apparent after many long days, like when a D student raises his hand.
So, in our work, we need to be mindful of cultivating mastery of our skills, give our people a sense of membership, and look for where we can find meaning from what we’re doing.
“It’s as though we all have two jobs,” Kanter says, “our immediate tasks and the chance to make a difference.”
[Image: Flickr user Bob Vonderau]